I got a bunch of requests on my Instagram (which if you don’t follow you definitely should! Click here to see my page) to write a grocery haul and give some tips about how I maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet even on a college budget! Below you’ll find some of my all time healthy staple foods as well as the best places to buy them that won’t kill the bank account!
First lets look at the foods I’m actually buying before we get into how to make it college friendly! Above is a picture of a recent grocery haul. I like to make big grocery hauls that will last me a while so that I’m not running to the grocery store every couple of days. Because let’s be honest, no one, especially college students, have time for that! I also love to focus on get fresh produce and mainly unprocessed foods. I know that in a dorm this isn’t as easy because you’re most likely just working with a mini fridge to hold all of your groceries but just work with what you got! I obviously do buy some processed foods but I do make an effort to keep this to a minimum. Especially with being gluten free, this just makes it easier to control and know that everything I am putting in my body is safe for me to eat!
I live in an apartment now it’s much easier for me to cook all my favorite veggies like zucchini, brussel sprouts, etc. with a good source of protein like salmon, chicken, chicken sausage and whatever else I am feeling that grocery store trip. As far as protein, if you eat meat, chicken sausages have saved my life. Firstly, they taste amazing but also most of the ones at Trader Joe’s are precooked so you just throw them in the microwave and boom! Easy and quick protein source! This is especially a good option for those who live in a dorm with limited kitchen access. I also love to stock up on frozen veggies and foods because they’re just as nutritious as fresh! So like frozen berries for smoothies or microwavable rice and cauliflower rice have been my best friends lately. I have loved mixing half real rice and half cauliflower rice to sneak in some veggies while still have the rice that I love!
I love having nuts as a snack or Chomps beef sticks are a great option as well. As far as sauces, nut butters and sweets are concerned, I just try to keep them as simple ingredients as possible! It’s crazy how many things like sugar and wheat that brands can sneak into your favorite products that aren’t even necessary! Most of them are used as fillers so it’s important to check the label if you are trying to find the healthiest option for you!
The most important thing is to not dwell too much on this process and find what works for you and your budget! That is why my first tip for healthy eating in college is to pick the right place to shop! If you have a specific budget and are trying to make sure you are spending too much on groceries, a place like Whole Foods probably isn’t the best place to start. Personally, I love shopping at Trader Joe’s. It is super affordable and they have tons of amazing products and fresh produce! A lot of my friends also love shopping at Aldi because it is super affordable as well and they have tons of amazing products! Now, while I do love shopping at Trader Joe’s I go in there knowing that I’m not going to find everything I need there. I am a Whole Foods addict so I know there are a few things there that I can only get at that store but I also don’t want to break the bank by buying all of my groceries there. So, that is why I get everything I can at Trader Joe’s and then run over to Whole Foods afterwards to get a few products that I love that make me happy and excited for the meals I get to make out of everything I just bought! This has helped me to find a good balance between healthy eating and buying foods I love without emptying my bank account just on groceries!
I would also say it’s a great idea to get your fresh produce at a Farmer’s market if you have one near you! I try to go to the one near me frequently and buy a lot of my produce there because it is super cheap, fresh and it’s all in season fruits and veggies! That’s even a good tip to keep in mind when shopping at the regular store. All the produce that is in season is always going to be cheaper than something that is out of season. So maybe start to base your grocery list off of the foods you enjoy that are actually in season right now because that could help you save a little as well!
I hope these tips and the haul gave you a little insight into my typical grocery store trip and a few new ideas to use when making your grocery list. Again, you just need to figure out what works best for you! This may take a little trial and error but once you get into a groove, you will feel like a pro! As always, please reach out if you ever have any questions! Happy shopping! XOXO